Sonja Lyubomirsky is a psychologist, born in
Russia in 1967.
Lyubomirsky graduated from Harvard University and later earned a doctorate at Stanford. She conducts research on human happiness. Among her findings is that 40% of happiness is subject to the individual's control, which led her to the conviction that it is worth striving to be happy. The other 60% is due to a mix of genetic (50%) and environmental (10%) factors. This also means that you are born with a certain propensity to be happy or depressed, even if your education is the same.
A 40% of our happiness depends on the fulfilment of activities like: expressing gratitude and appreciation, practising generosity, striving to think positively, learning to forgive, becoming aware of moments of joy, cultivating interpersonal relationships, goal setting and pursuing them actively, practising a religion, meditating, and doing physical activity and exercise.
With her research, Sonja has learned that in reality there are no universal or foolproof techniques to be happy; each one must seek the most appropriate and apply it in the proper dose. Also, contrary to common belief, happy people don't see life in a more superficial or naive way, but choose to focus on the positive factors and act on the negative to correct them.
She is the author of the books The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want and the Myths of Happiness.
Another of her fundamental tenets is that we possess a great capacity to adapt to new relationships, jobs and riches, so that over time gratifying changes produce less rewards. This hedonistic adaptation hinders happiness because it makes us overestimate successes.
Sonja Lyubomirsky is a professor in the Department of Psychology of the University of California, Riverside. She has received several awards, such as the Foundation John Templeton award, the National Institute of Mental Health award and the Templeton Positive Psychology Prize.